To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.– Sir Winston Churchill
The Christmas season for you has likely been a bitter-sweet one. After a decade of humbling (or shall I say humiliating) revelations about the sinister sexual sins of the founder of the order, Fr Marcial Maciel, a report has finally been published by the congregation showing that a total of at least 175 minors have been victims of sexual abuse, 60 of those by the founder and the rest by other members of the religious congregation.
To some of you, this report represents a sign of victory, a painful show of transparency that was impossible 10 years ago, and proof that the Legion has changed.
Many of you are good men, and have worked hard, and suffered much in silence trusting that one day the Legion would be healed and you could finally move on.
Yes, there are still many good men in the Legion. I know their names, their hearts, and the truly incredible sacrifices they have made to serve God and others.
I especially think of the young men I had the privilege of serving during my time in Ireland as an Assistant. I couldn’t be prouder of the men they have become, despite my own sometimes massive deficiencies.
At a Crossroads
Yet I believe the Legion is at a crossroads during this General Chapter 1. For the past 10 years, the current administration in the Legion had a moral obligation to take full ownership for the plethora of abuses mentioned in the recent report and to make some form of restitution to the victims.
Despite the previous General Chapters’ promise of justice to the victims, nothing was actually done to seek the victims out. The Director-General, Fr. Robles-Gil even recently admitted having known about the case of the former priest, Fr. Fernando Martinez, sexually abusing little girls and yet he chose to do nothing about it.
In fact, I actually had a phone call last year with Fr. John Connor, Territorial Director of the USA and asked him why the Legion didn’t go out in search of the victims, so as to help them heal and find peace. He stated that while that was something that he would like to do, Fr Robles-Gil preferred to wait until the victims came out and make an official complaint.
Even a cursory knowledge of how debilitating abuse can be for victims, and how challenging it is for them to finally have the courage to share, would have been enough to know that too many victims would be left behind to wallow in their pain in silence. In actuality, too many rapes go unreported because women (or men) are too terrified to open up about it. Why would this not be the case with the Legion as well?
Only if the Legion were to seek them, much like Jesus seeks out the lost sheep, would many of them perhaps feel strong enough to come forward.
But the victims have every reason to doubt the Legion’s supposed change of heart. As recently as August 13, 2019 the Legionary delegate in Mexico City for helping victims of abuse, Fr. Luis Gerardo Fernández, went so far as to try to keep one of the victims from speaking out. He was afraid that her participation in an open forum about the abuse would look poorly upon the Legion. He tracked her down in the Senate building of Mexico City and proceeded to berate her and call her a liar. But then the media caught light of the story of how these young girls were indeed raped and the Legion had covered it up for 50 years. It is likely that alone, and not the Legion’s desire for transparency, that caused them to publish the report this past December, as well as to sheepishly admit that these girls were telling the truth.
You can read the full summary given by Erick Escobar (who was present) in the footnotes. 2
So yes, I strongly believe that the Legion of Christ is at a crossroads right now:
How they act will determine whether this ship will right itself and change its destiny, or whether it will sink and drag down with it the many good men who have waited out the mess in hopes of a better tomorrow.
It is time, my dear brothers, to rise up to your calling to greatness. Hard times call for great men, and now is the moment for you to reconnect to the reason why you joined the Legion. It is time to get out of your heads and into your hearts, to reconnect with the greatness that God has placed in each one of you.
You can be sure of one thing: this ship will not right itself, and the men who have had this responsibility for the past 10 years have shown that they have no intention, or are unable, to do what is right and to act with justice, truth and love.
Just as a man will never rise to his true greatness if he does not first face the beast inside him, so too the Legion will never flourish if it continues to ignore the massive damage that it has created in its wake.
And brothers, believe me, the Legion has left a massive wake behind it, and buried deep under the ocean are the strewn bodies of too many once-vibrant men, women, and children…
So, for those who are open to accomplishing this great task, to standing up for the truth with love, I want to first show you what this beast looks like, and then I will show you how to slay it, and by doing so, rise up to your own greatness.
Facing the Beast Inside
The first step in the process of turning the Legion around, and of actually fulfilling the grave responsibility of doing justice to the victims, involves recognizing the heart of what has gone wrong. And it is a problem of the masculine heart.
Fr. Juan Sabadell recently published a Facebook post in which he blames homosexuality for the alarming cases of abuse in the Legion and in the Church, citing a study showing that the vast majority of the cases of sexual abuse were with young men, not children.
How terribly sad that decades after these atrocious sexual scandals began leaking out, priests still do not understand why so many people are enraged with the Church and have left it.
What they do not understand is that while people were initially scandalized by the sexual abuse of children and young adults by priests, the scandal, outrage and departure from religion is because of something else entirely.
What is truly heinous, what is completely disgusting, what is horrifically atrocious is the fact that other men (men who dare to call themselves a priest or bishop), men who have never been abused as many of the abusers were and thus have no excuse for their own moral corruption, knew about these crimes and did nothing or even allowed these abuses to continue.
These men have brought shame upon all men, and they have made a sacrilege of the name “father”.
These men have brought shame upon all men, and they have made a sacrilege of the name “father”.
Yes, these men have brought shame upon all men, and they have made a sacrilege of the name “father” for all of us men.
This is what infuriates the victims about the Legionary of Christ superior’s pathetic attempts at exonerating themselves from blame for what happened to girls such as Ana Lucia, Biani Lopez, and Belen.
For those of you who aren’t as familiar with the story, Ana Lucia, Biani Lopez, and Belen are among a growing number of truly courageous women who have come forward publicly to share that they were sexually abused by the then Fr. Fernando Martinez, LC when he was the chaplain at their school.
These women, who were as young as 6 years old when the abuse happened, were lured into the chapel with the help of a female teacher, Aurora Morales. The priest then proceeded to sexually abuse these girls and force the other girls to watch.
While Fr. Fernando was moved to Spain 25 years ago after this was made known, (but allowed continued access to novices) Aurora continued teaching in a Legionary school being run by Fr. Guillermo Meade in Mexico until just this May, where she was let go and thanked for her service, although it had been known for the past 25+ years that she had been an accomplice of this truly heinous crime.
What is truly sad is that Cardinal Vealsio de Paolis also knew of this case, but refused to investigate any other cases of abuse except those of the founder, and that Fr Robles Gil, when elected as Director General, chose to ignore once again these poor women’s cry for mercy and justice.
And sadly some of the men who knew about these girls being raped in Legionary schools years ago and chose to obey rather than fulfill their moral obligation as men and fathers to stand up for them, to protect them no matter the cost: these not only remain Legionary priests but some were elected to the General Chapter.
- Fr. Eloy Bedia (who recently recused himself without admitting any responsibility whatsoever)
- Fr Carlos Skertchly
- Fr. Luis Garza
- Fr Evaristo Sada
- Bishop Jorge Bernal
Lest you think I am overexaggerating just how heinous their failure to take action is, even the President of the Mexican Conference of Bishops and Archbishop of Monterrey, Mons. Rogelio Cabrera López was infuriated and called the December report “late and incomplete.”
Brothers, the heart of this problem is that these men have forgotten what it means to be a father. One is not simply given the title but must earn it each day.
With this title, comes a sacred responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves, even if it means sacrificing one’s life to do so. Too many of these men believed that simply by being ordained a priest that they were worthy of the title “Father.”
Too many priests and bishops have stopped acting as fathers and have acted more like lawyers and politicians. By doing so, they have betrayed the trust God gave them, and that people placed in them.
If the damage that has been done in the Church is to be reversed, if the Legion is to upright the ship, then Legionaries must start standing up for the truth, demanding justice for these victims, and holding these men accountable for their participation in doing nothing when it was in their power to stop it.
The only way to stop this madness is to redeem fatherhood, which is at the heart of our true masculine power. Only men who are in touch with their calling to authentic fatherhood will find the clarity, strength and resolve to do what is right.
Dear brothers, it is time to step out of the shadows and get in the ring. Your time to shine has come, your time to rise to your greatness and face the beast is here. On behalf of these women, and the many other victims who still have not had the strength to come forward, I beg you to step forward, stand up tall, and face the enemy with courage. Today is the day you get to become worthy of your title. Be fathers.
- a sextennial meeting of the superiors and some elected members to discuss the future direction of the religious order[↩]
Testimonio del encuentro inesperado con el padre Luis Gerardo Fernández, LC el día martes en el Senado de la República.
Argumentando ( el Padre) que “le cambiaron la jugada” ya que Analu iba a moderar un foro, sin embargo se decidió que mejor expusiera su testimonio esto fue los qué pasó:
El 13 de Agosto del 2019, el Padre Luis Gerardo Fernández -delegado para atención de víctimas de la Legión de Cristo en la CDMX- se hizo presente en el foro “Violencia sexual infantil, retos legislativos” con la intención de desmentir a Analu y ejercer su “derecho” de réplica; acompañado de Pablo Pérez de la Vega -Director de comunicación del RC-. Habló conmigo con una actitud de indignación y en papel de víctima sobre lo siguiente:
1. Analu miente y manipula la información a su conveniencia, busca el escándalo y no quiere hacer una denuncia formal.
2. La Legión y Presidium hemos buscado a Analu pero ella está cerrada al diálogo.
3. La Legión y Presidium sí están investigando. Eloy Bedia afirma desconocer totalmente el caso de Analu.
4. Fernando Martínez ya fue sometido a un juicio canónico y sancionado en su momento, conforme a las sanciones de la época (1992).
5. Fernando Martínez también fue sometido ya a un proceso civil.
Al interrogarle yo sobre la sentencia canónica y civil de Fernando Martínez, el padre Luis Gerardo se limitó a invitarme a investigar por mi cuenta lo que debería ser un tema de conocimiento público.
Me intentó orillar a elegir un bando, recordando el “bien” que la Legión me ha hecho y todo “el apoyo que me ha dado” -desde su punto de vista-.
Lo invité yo a él, junto con la senadora Josefina Vázquez Mota, a que ejerza su réplica públicamente y dé a conocer los datos que afirma en privado sobre Fernando Martínez.
Por el momento, el padre Luis Gerardo no ha dado respuesta a esa invitación.
Yo enfrenté al sacerdote Luis Gerardo Fernández, LC en el Comedor del Senado y le dije que deberían de tener vergüenza de siquiera buscar la manera de replicar el testimonio de una víctima.
Que su poder institucional no está por encima de las personas ni de mí; que no me voy a quedar callada porque aprendí que ellos no dictan las normas y que los enfrentaré con la verdad cuántas veces sea necesario.
Pablo Perez de la Vega -Director de Comunicación del Regnum Christi- me argumentó diciendo que ellos sólo querían ayudar.
Les respondí que me ayuden presentando a Fernando Martínez y a sus encubridores, que presenten a los pederastas que tienen resguardados y con eso apoyarían a las víctimas, a la justicia y a los niños de México.
A ambos les advertí que si se atrevían a replicarme y se paraban a decir tonterías una a una iba a contestárselas públicamente ya que JAMÁS ME IBAN A VOLVER A CALLAR.
3 thoughts on “Open Letter to My LC Brothers”
Keep up the good work!
Every effort to outreach present and past members of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi is worthwhile, IMHO
They need information, awareness, healing and support; forgive me if say that many of us had PTSD symtoms, among others, even those who had only spent a short time in the institution. I spent 23 years, as you know.
Thanks Paul! I couldn’t agree more!